Here’s songs 1-11 on the 2017 Great 88:
“Wake Up Little Susie” by The Everly Brothers (1957)
At an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show while campaigning for President in year 2000, George W. Bush was asked by Oprah what his favorite song was. He said: “Wake Up Little Susie – by Buddy Holly.”
2017: #71, Highest Ranking: #1 (2014)
“True Love Ways” by Buddy Holly (1960)
The song’s haunting melody was inspired by one of Buddy’s favorite black Gospel hymns, “I’ll Be Alright,” which was recorded by The Angelic Gospel Singers. This song was likely inspired by his wife Maria Elena.
2017: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #29 (2015)
“The Loco-Motion” by Little Eva (1962)
One day Carole King came up with a melody that her husband, Gerry Goffin thought sounded like a locomotive, and when he saw Eva dancing with their daughter to the tune, he got the idea to make the song about a brand new dance – The Loco-Motion. He wrote the lyrics and they brought Eva–their babysitter–to the studio and had her record the song as a demo – they were hoping Dee Dee Sharp would sing it. Their producer Don Kirshner thought Eva’s vocal was just fine, so they named her Little Eva and had her record the song.
2017: #57, Highest Ranking: #20 (2016)
“Be My Baby” by The Ronettes (1963)
This was written by the songwriters Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who were married at the time. As was his custom, Phil Spector also took a songwriting credit on the track. Barry and Greenwich had a remarkable run of hits in 1963 and 1964, including “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Chapel Of Love,” “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and “Leader of the Pack.” They divorced in 1965 but kept working together; one of their post-divorce accomplishments was producing Neil Diamond’s early recordings.
2017: #11, Highest Ranking: #2 (2014)
“A Hundred Pounds of Clay” by Gene McDaniels (1961)
In the early 60s, the BBC banned the song and wouldn’t allow British radio stations to play it. The controversy arose not from the fact that it was a religious song, but because the censors interpreted the song as suggesting women were created simply to be sexual beings, and the BBC felt something that was considered blasphemous should not air to avoid controversy.
2017: #55, Highest Ranking: #17 (2012)
“My True Story” by The Jive Five (1961)
The single was the biggest hit for the group on both the R&B and pop charts. “My True Story” made it to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and was number one on the R&B Sides chart for three weeks. Lead singer Eugene Pitt co-wrote the song.
2017: #40, Highest Ranking: #3 (2016)
“Runaround Sue” by Dion (1961)
In the liner notes of Dion’s box set King Of The New York Streets, he wrote: “It came about by partying in a schoolyard. We were jamming, hitting tops of boxes. I gave everyone parts like the horn parts we’d hear in the Apollo Theater and it became a jam that we kept up for 45 minutes. I came up with all kinds of stuff. But when I actually wrote the song and brought it into the studio to record it, well, her name wasn’t actually Sue. It was about, you know, some girl who loved to be worshiped but as soon as you want a commitment and express your love for her, she’s gone. So the song was a reaction to that kind of woman.”
2017: #17, Highest Ranking: #6 (2012)
“In the Still of the Night” by The Five Satins (1956)
The song was recorded in the basement of St. Bernadette Church in the group’s hometown of New Haven, Connecticut. They first tried recording the song in another New Haven building (on Whalley Avenue), but street noise degraded the recording. The church basement had great acoustics and was insulated from ambient noise, making it a perfect place to record.
2017: #1, Highest Ranking: #1 (2015 and 2017)
“I Wonder Why” by Dion and the Belmonts (1958)
The song was used in the film A Bronx Tale, in the pilot episode of the television series The Sopranos, and in John Carpenter’s film adaption of Stephen King’s “Christine”
2017: #14, Highest Ranking: #7 (2016)
“Earth Angel” by The Penguins (1954)
The Penguins were four black high school students from Fremont High in Los Angeles who were named for the logo on Kool cigarettes – a penguin named Willie (the group was originally called The Flywheels). They recorded this song in a garage and released it on a small black-owned label called Dootone Records. When it sold over 4 million copies, it proved that independent record labels could succeed, and many more began operating across America.
2017: #9, Highest Ranking: #9 (2017)
“Come Go With Me” by The Dell-Vikings (1957)
The song was originally recorded by The Del-Vikings in 1956 and was released on Fee Bee Records. Norman Wright was the lead vocalist on this song. When the group signed with Dot Records in 1957, the song became a hit, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming the group’s highest-charting song. The song was later featured in the films American Graffiti (1973), Diner (1982), Stand by Me (1986) and Joe Versus the Volcano (1990).
2017: #4, Highest Ranking: #4 (2016 and 2017)
Join us for “The Grooveyard” following “Rick’s Redneck Ranch” each Saturday night at 7 PM. We count down the Grooveyard Top Ten songs from the date in history at 8 PM, and your requests on the Grooveyard Party Hour at 9 PM. Hear us on 88.1 FM on Long Island, by clicking the 88.1 FM link on wcwp.org or via the TuneIn app. or the 88.1 FM button on the WCWP app for Android or iPhones. You can also follow us on Twitter.
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